SPIDEY CASTING – Why Sony doesn’t care about age…or overwhelmingly negative fan reaction
Don't get me wrong about this. I loved Garfield in Boy A, and I think he's a really fantastic young performer.
In a word…no.
The age factor is just ridiculous. Sony and director Marc Webb are on record several times as having said that they wanted to cast a teenager so they could grow into the role. Then they decide to get coy, obnoxious, and downright ruthless and totally ignore the will of the american fans (gee, sounds like politics, doesn't it? BINGO!) and instead of casting one of about a dozen actors who the fans liked that fit the age range, they decide to cast a 26 year old who is almost a complete unknown and who at best might be able to pass for 22 or so…but definately NOT 16.
Why does Hollywood always play this game? The age factor is such a damn joke. There are hundreds if not THOUSANDS of actors who are actually 16 or 17 years old that could (and possibly would) make a better Peter Parker.
And yet…and yet…Hollywood has a long and dubious history of making an ass of itself in this area…
What's that, my readers? You want a few examples? Sure! Let's start with the REALLY OBVIOUS one, shall we?
Two Words – Nicholas Hammond.
Hammond was the ORIGINAL Spider-Man, in the gawd-awful CBS series The Amazing Spiderman. He was WAY too old for the part, but the real blame for this series was its writing and execution. About the only thing that was Spidey about this show was the name, and the costume.
Want more examples? Here we go…
GREASE- No one is gonna deny that Grease is one of the best musicals of all time. But in order to really enjoy it, you need to forget that John Travolta is in his mid 20s and Olivia Newton-John in her EARLY 30s, and both were playing 17 years old. Did they look it? NOT EVEN CLOSE….
THE POWERS OF MATTHEW STAR – The most infamous example of 20-and-30-somethings trying to play teenagers… and coming off looking RIDICULOUS. The youngest member of the cast of this sci-fi turkey was Amy Steel, and while she was a great actress, she was also 25 years old, playing 17. Peter Barton was 28 playing 17.
HEAD OF THE CLASS – while this TV Show was closer to the correct age range in most areas, could one REALLY believe that 27 year old Dan Frischman was 16 when the show started? How about 24 year old Dan Schneider? Co-star Tony O'Dell was WAY more convincing playing 16…and he was just a few months younger than Frischman…
Now, let's go the other direction, shall we?
What would have happened if the powers that be at Warner Brothers had decided to cast a 15 year old American actor as 11 year old Harry Potter in the first Potter film? Do you REALLY think this idea would have worked? Nope, and Sorcerer's Stone would have been the first AND last Harry Potter film.
And now we know at little more TRUTH about WHY Sony has been dragging it's heels when it came to casting…
It's now come out that Sony was offering a paltry $500K for the first film, $1M for the second, and $2M for the third. For a young and hungry performer like Garfield, that payday for a role as iconic as Spider-Man probably looks too good to pass up. But to seasoned and more in-demand performers, like Logan Lerman, Michael Angarano, Josh Hutcherson, Anton Yelchin, et al – that offer had to seem like somewhat of an insult. Does Sony REALLY believe that the actors don't know how much the studio is likely to make on these films if they're successful? The truth of the matter is that Sony is a cheap-ass company who doesn't want to pay top talent for the roles that will bring the studio the most money. In other words – typical corporate greed.
The truth will play out at San Diego's annual Comic-Con. If fans react negatively – and I think they're going to – things may change yet again. Hopefully, Marvel's Avi Arad, who has always been one smart cookie, will realize what Sony is about to do with one of their most lucrative properties and try to stop it. If not, who knows? With more rumors already surfacing on various sites about planned changes to the script to accommodate Garfield's age, when they've been so adamant from day one about the film being about the high school days of Peter Parker, one wonders why they're even bothering to try this at all.
But I have to wonder…if this film bombs, the film rights are likely to revert back to Disney and become a lucrative part of their Marvel division. And in all honesty, if Sony is going to deliberately antagonize the fans just to get internet buzz, they will have a massive failure on their hands, and best of all, no one to blame but themselves because they didn't listen to the fans. As a wise robot once said, "it's YOUR dishwashing liquid, YOU soak in it!" .
Having checked fan reaction on some 35 different sites with the news since it broke, so will the MAJORITY of Spider-Man fans…about 70% of whom do not approve of the idea of a "reboot" for the franchise in the first place…and about 60%of whom are not happy AT ALL with Sony's choice for the role…of the top three choices leaked last night – NONE of whom were teenagers - only Jamie Bell had fan approval, and I still don't know why, when as I've stated he's also too old for the role…
Them's not good odds…so mark my words, peeps…I'm betting that the Spider-Man saga isn't over yet…in fact, I'm thinking it may be far from over….but we'll see…stay tuned.